Puppy Raising FAQ
Where do you get your dogs from?
Can you be a Puppy Raiser if you have other pets at home?
Can you be a Puppy Raiser if your employer won’t allow you to bring the dog to work?
Can you be a Puppy Raiser if you live in an apartment/condo/dorm?
How long will I have to wait before I get a puppy?
What expenses is the Puppy Raiser responsible for? What is the cost of raising a puppy?
How often/At what ages are the puppies evaluated?
How do Puppy Raisers know what shots/medications their dog needs and when?
What should a Puppy Raiser do if their dog has a medical emergency?
Can I get a new puppy before/right after my current puppy goes in for Formal Harness Training?
Is it hard to give away the dog?
What do you do with the puppies that don’t make it?
OccuPaws has its own breeding program of high quality, English lineage Labrador Retrievers. We also accept purebred, high quality donated dogs from select breeders in the area. We do not use rescue or mixed breed dogs.
Yes, as long as they are friendly and not reptiles. Be sure that you have time to work with your OccuPaws puppy if you do have many other pets at home.
Yes, as long as there are still ways for your puppy to socialize and as long as the puppy is left in a crate for an appropriate amount of time depending on their age. Younger puppies should only be in the crate for a maximum of 2-3 hours except for bedtime.
Yes and No. While the law treats service animals as exempt from any no pet or no dog rules you may have at your dwelling, common sense may make it difficult to raise a puppy for OccuPaws: there is no exercise area, no grass to relieve themselves, you live on the upper floors, etc. Check with your Puppy Coordinator for advice.
That will vary widely depending on whether we have any puppies available and if they match your home, life-style and personality. The typical time is 3-6 months.
The puppy raiser is responsible for all the typical costs associated with raising a personal puppy. Food, vet care, spay/neuter, Heartwormer, Flea and Tick preventative, toys, travel expenses. Plan on about $75-$100 per month as an average.
The puppies are constantly being observed and evaluated by you, the other trainers, the puppy coordinators and our Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. There are a couple of review periods, typically around 8-10 months and again around 13-15 months where they may live for a period with a different trainer to help identify issues and solutions.
Raisers are provided shot and medication schedules when they receive the puppy, as well as periodic reminders of certain requirements.
While there are some “emergencies” that can be handled at home, your puppy coordinator is your best, first contact if you don’t think it is an emergency. If it appears life threatening, then contact your veterinarian or if needed an emergency Vet immediately.
Normally it is easier to start a new puppy after your current puppy leaves for formal harness training, however there are occasions where you may receive a new puppy while you still have your current dog in training. You, the trainer, and your puppy coordinator would discuss it on a case by case basis.
Yes and no…you will become very attached and it will be difficult, but when you see the dog working it is all worth it. Your first graduation ceremony, where you “present” the dog you have raised to the person whose life you have changed, will put it all in perspective.
We try and find an alternate service dog career that may be better suited (diabetic alert, search and rescue, etc.) to the dog. If nothing fits, puppies/dogs that were born at Occupaws and are better suited as pets, are placed with families as a career change dogs. Puppies that are donated by breeders often times have contracts with the breeders and are often returned to the breeder to find another career or home for the dog. The best interest of the dog is always our top priority. (Click here to apply for a career change dog)